Sabotage, negligence eyed as possible causes of new Beirut, Lebanon fire



Sept. 11 (UPI) — A large fire that broke out in Beirut is now under control and authorities are trying to determine what set it off, officials said Friday.

The blaze began Thursday in the Port of Beirut, the same section of the capital that was disfigured a month ago by two explosions and a great fire.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun said sabotage, a technical error or negligence could all be causes.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said thousands of food parcels at the port were burned by the flames.

The fire occurred at a duty-free facility that stored oil and tires. It was the second fire at the port this week after a small blaze Tuesday. Two explosions at the port on Aug. 4 killed nearly 200 people and caused at least $10 billion in damage.

Prime Minister-designate Mustapha Adib said Friday the new blaze was unjustifiable given the disaster last month.

“The fire at the port of Beirut cannot be justified no matter what,” Adib tweeted. “Accountability is a main condition that such painful incidents are not repeated.”

Lebanon is trying to recover from the recent disasters while also dealing with an economic crisis that’s devalued currency and wrought hardships in the Middle Eastern nation for years.

Experts said this week that the Lebanese government must do more to root out corruption and make other reforms if it wants foreign help in resolving the crisis.

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